We, as School Sisters of St. Francis want to offer our deepest sympathy to Joyce’s family and her friends.
Sister Joyce left two statements with us as she filled out the Five Wishes document. She said, “I would like my funeral to be a celebration of my life,” and “I loved my life as a School Sister of St. Francis, being with my family, my 55 years in education, and being with my friends.”
As her brother Ed said, “she was a person of great conviction to choose a path of tremendous commitment and had the courage to live it every day of her life.”
On September 6, 1937, Joyce’s mother, Ethel and her dad, Clarence, welcomed Joyce into the family. Joyce was the third oldest in the family of seven children – Trudy, Carol, Joyce, Jim, Sue, Mike, and Ed. Ed was born on Joyce’s 21st birthday.
Joyce loved her family, wanting always to be with them at any family gathering, and she shared with all of us the fun she had being with the family. We heard many stories of weddings and baby showers and the Schreiner Christmas gatherings. And she often told everyone how very good and generous and thoughtful her sisters and brothers were to her.
That generosity, thoughtfulness, and kindness were also a great part of Joyce’s life. A Jewish proverb says “Nowhere does the Torah say, invite your guest to pray; but it does tell us to offer a guest food, drink, and a bed.” Joyce often did just that. She baked cookies, brownies, and breads for many community events and for her family. Peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies often went home with her and the family continually rotated the cookie tins. Joyce often said, “I love to bake but I can’t eat it all,” so she gave little bags of cookies to many people.
If someone expressed a need for help with something, Joyce was there to help out. In her retirement years, she belonged to the community group called WOW – Women On Wheels – and she drove many sisters to doctor appointments, shopping, or anywhere they wanted to go. She did so with compassion and kindness, especially for those who needed extra help.
Joyce first met the School Sisters of St Francis at St. Matthias School and at Alvernia High School, where they were teaching. She loved her teachers. She became a candidate of the community in 1955 and was Received into the community in 1956. She loved her classmates and would often be a part of organizing class gatherings.
Being a part of community gatherings and discussion groups was very important to her. She also loved parties. In Chicago, she helped with the planning of the Illinois holiday parties. When she was the one to order the food, we had a great meal!
One of Joyce’s great loves was teaching. The places she did her teaching are listed in the Mass booklet. The children loved her and their parents respected her. She took new teachers under her wing and made lasting friends with many teachers. Not only did she teach full time, she also was director of religious education programs and trained teachers to teach religion. She was a hard worker, with a take-charge attitude that helped her do so much good for the children, their parents, and other teachers.
During the last few years, Joyce had several surgeries. She did her very best to do what the doctors advised, and she was so grateful for any help other sisters, her family, and the health care staff gave to her. She struggled in her last illness, but her sense of humor came through when one sister told her that her hair looked so nice. Joyce said very proudly, as she touched her head, “I combed my hair with one hand and no mirror.”
Remember, Joyce said, “I would like my funeral to be a celebration of my life.” Sister Joyce, may you now enjoy the face of God, as you celebrate in heaven with your parents, your sister Carol, your sister-in-law Amy, your niece Marilyn, and all of your deceased relatives. Peace be with you.